Powerful men from the world’s richest countries jetting in to stay at a glitzy hotel in Cornwall makes perfect sense, says Ayesha Hazarika in the I newspaper: the county is so pricy, “only G7 leaders can afford a minibreak there”. Between cordon bleu meals and cream teas, they will make pledges about reforming global corporate tax and vaccinating the world. But it’s the prospect of Joe Biden using his charm to educate Boris Johnson on the art of compromise that is “fascinating”. No one in British politics “can sit down with our prime minister and have that conversation” – not just about revisiting cuts to foreign aid cuts, but about dropping his “increasingly desperate” version of “Britain First” and retreating from the culture wars. It’s a long shot, but “I hope Biden can civilise Johnson”.
The initial “love-in” with the president couldn’t have gone better, says Alex Wickham in Politico. Boris and Joe looked like “bessie mates”, and their wives, Carrie and Jill, frolicked for a photo op on the beach with Wilfred, the PM’s 18-month-old son. Carrie and Jill dipped their toes in the sea. Biden told Johnson that they had both “married way above our stations”. A romantic trip to St Michael’s Mount was scuppered by the Cornish mizzle, but a beaming Johnson – who was seen putting on his trunks and heading for a bracing seaside dip at 7am – described his new pal as a “breath of fresh air”. If he gets Biden to say the words “indestructible relationship” (the PM’s preferred term for the “special” transatlantic bond), things really will have gone better than expected.
The good news for Boris is that Sleepy Joe “doesn’t remember much”, says Freddy Gray in The Spectator. Otherwise “the orange elephant in the room” might have been a problem. Boris’s dalliance with Donald Trump was “a bit like his affair with Jennifer Arcuri”: an embarrassing fling with a rotund, brash American conspiracy theorist, something he’d rather the world forgot. Boris and Biden are much better bedfellows. Carrie much prefers the thought of “the PR-cuddly and green-minded Joe and Jill Biden” to toxic Donald and Melania. Johnson also wants to be loved by liberals, and knows cosying up to the new president is a good look. As for Team Biden, they want to move on from Trump’s “America First” approach and lead a like-minded group of liberal democracies in taking on China and Russia. They see Britain as a key part of that.
All this Biden-Boris bonhomie is a big shot in the arm for Global Britain, says Tom McTague in The Atlantic. Now the UK must prove it’s “the ally America needs”. One Johnson aide told me leaving the EU was a “cold, sharp bucket of water” for little Britain, and that the PM was worried the country’s “ambient” foreign policy was drifting – economically and diplomatically – long before Brexit. With Trump gone, zippy Britain wants to use its leadership of the G7 to unveil a “Democratic 10”, adding India, South Korea and Australia. That fits with Biden’s goal of an “alliance of values” to oppose autocrats, and gives the UK a stage on which it can sit comfortably and remain one of the most influential members. The big risk, of course, is that the Union will fall apart while Britain is fighting battles abroad. Brexit Britain has a new global focus, but its Achilles heel lies at home.